Allegra non troppo

In a discovery that has implications for all kinds of things that are probably best left to the imagination, it turns out that listening to Mozart can make you less allergic to latex. Need to read that again? Yeah, I thought so.

[L]istening to Mozart reduced allergen-induced skin wheal responses with a concomitant decrease of total and allergen-specific IgE production. The reduction of wheal response was allergen-specific because listening to Mozart had no effect on histamine-induced wheal responses, that were not allergen-specific.

That’s from “Listening to Mozart Reduces Allergic Skin Wheal Responses and In Vitro Allergen-specific IgE Production in Atopic Dermatitis Patients With Latex Allergy” by Hajime Kimata, published in the journal Behavioral Medicine in Spring 2003—you can read the abstract here. (IgE, by the way, is an immunoglobulin in the blood that is often responsible for allergic reactions; one of the symptoms it causes is swelling, which lets you test a reaction by pricking the skin, irritating it with a small amount of an allergen, and seeing how much the spot swells up.) Dr. Kimata performed skin prick tests on latex-allergic volunteers before and after a half-hour of Mozart recordings. Interestingly, he also tried a half-hour of Beethoven.

[T]he skin wheal responses induced by latex or histamine were not changed after listening to Beethoven. In contrast, the wheal responses induced by latex, but not by histamine, were significantly reduced after listening to Mozart. Moreover, whereas listening to Beethoven had no effect on in vitro production of total IgE and latex-specific IgE by mononuclear cells, listening to Mozart significantly reduced in vitro production of total IgE and latex-specific IgE.

…I have also studied the effect of other classical music. Listening to Haydn (Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major 1st mov: Allegro, Symphony No. 101 in D major The Clock, 1st mov: Adagio-Presto, 2nd mov: Andante, 3rd mov: Menuetto; Allegretto, and 4th mov: Finale; Vivace) or Brahms (Clarinet Quintet in B minor 1st mov., Symphony No. 2 in D major 3rd mov., Symphony No. 1 in C minor 3rd mov., and Symphony No. 3 in F major 3rd mov.) failed to reduce allergic skin wheal responses (data not shown).

Dr. Kimata, head of the allergy department at Satou Hospital in Osaka, Japan, has also determined that allergic reactions can also be lessened by funny movies, sad movies, and getting from first base all the way around to home. Who knew that, every time Don Giovanni scratched his itch, it left him with a little less itch to scratch?


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